Chef Angelo Elia, whose “home will always be” the acclaimed Casa d’Angelo in Fort Lauderdale, will open a trattoria by the end of summer in downtown Delray. A gelateria will follow in a few months.
“I will never leave Casa d’Angelo,” he said. “It’s my home.” But he’s working diligently to complete the build-out and reconstruction for D’Angelo Trattoria in the old house east of the Intracoastal bridge that Carolina’s Coal Fired Pizza once occupied.
“It looks really beautiful – we rebuilt the restaurant. You will be able to see the chefs work – the kitchen is open behind glass,” he said.
The Italy-born chef currently has three restaurants, including one in Atlantis on Paradise Island, and another in Boca Raton. He chose Delray Beach over Miami as his next location.
“I love Delray – I think it’s beautiful. The dining scene there is great – there are so many restaurants and a few other chefs doing great things,” he said. “It’s attracting a lot of good chefs.”
Chefs like Nick Morforgen at 32 East, he said. “Nick’s a good friend of mine.”
Miami is a possibility for another d’Angelo restaurant – just not yet. “Miami’s too tough. Eventually, I’d like to be there, but the opportunity in Delray came up and I really love the city – it is beautiful.”
Two in one
He’ll divide the house into two dining options: a gelateria and pastry shop, and the Roman trattoria. D’Angelo’s menu will have traditional, “old-style Roman trattoria” dishes, he said.
On the menu are items like buccatini with a wild boar ragu, fried zucchini blossoms, grilled sausages, spaghetti with white anchovies, stuffed calamari, paccheri (oversized rigatoni-shaped pasta) with peccorino and tomatoes, whole wood-fire grilled fish and a chef’s favorite, baby porcetta from the wood oven.
It’s a whole roast piglet. “You must order that in advance for 1o people,” he said. Specials like sweetbreads and treats such as crostini alla Chiantigiana – a chicken liver pate made with anchovies – will be made in house.
Pastries and breads and gelato
For the pastry shop (as yet unnamed) in the front part of the house facing the street, he’ll bring in bakers from Naples, Italy, to produce breads and pastries for everyday desserts, as well as the special ones sold for holidays.
The reason for a bakery is simple: “We have no more great Italian pastry shops. That’s a shame,” he said. A few small tables will provide a place for bakery customers to sit with an espresso and have a pastry or try one of the 16 gelati on the menu.
The trattoria is scheduled to open in two months, Elia said. He hopes to have the pastry shop open by December.
Till then, he’s still working daily at Casa D’Angelo in Fort Lauderdale, and running up to Delray to check the progress. Once it opens, he’ll oversee the operation’s few weeks, then gradually turn it over to a trusted team, with occasional visits to keep it running smoothly.
He’s also talking with the owners of Cugini Grille, a restaurant on the west end of the Avenue, about working with them on a different concept.
“We’re just talking right now,” he said. Rumors of a pizzeria have circulated, but he says, “Nothing is firm.”
D’Angelo Trattoria will be at 9 S.E. 7th Ave., Delray Beach.